When the original DOOM was released back in 1993, it caused a real stir in the gaming industry. Developer id Software’s previous game Wolfenstein 3D probably lays claim to being the first true first-person shooter, but DOOM codified many of the tropes we now associate with the genre. That we used to call first-person shooters “DOOM clones” now seems terribly quaint given how far the genre has come since those halcyon days. We’re celebrating the first-person shooter today by looking at 12 of the best FPS games the PS4 has to offer.
After what some would consider a disappointing outing in DOOM 3 followed by years of silence, fans were skeptical that Bethesda and id Software could recapture the magic of their sophomore franchise. They needn’t have worried. DOOM 2016 delivers an insane blast of old-school ultraviolence and displays all the best characteristics of ‘90s shooters without some of their worse excesses. The visuals are sharp and crisp, the level design is intricate, and the gameplay is tight and satisfying. If you haven’t played this one yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
Before DOOM, there was Wolfenstein, in both the 90s and the 2010s. Wolfenstein: The New Order is sometimes unfairly seen as a test run for DOOM, but the truth is that The New Order has some of the strongest storytelling in video games. Longtime series hero BJ Blaskowicz is here reimagined as a tired trooper soldiering on in the face of impossible odds, and his ragtag band of resistance fighters are some of the most engaging and human characters video gaming has to offer. Plus, the shooting and stealth are top-notch.
Wolfenstein II continues Bethesda’s incredible run of form when it comes to current-gen first-person shooters. The second in the new reboot series does wobble a lot when it comes to tone – a moment in the midgame springs to mind – and it is, in the end, just more of the same. That said, nobody does this stuff better than Bethesda and MachineGames, so Wolfenstein II is still well worth your time. The level design is even more sprawling and intricate than it was the first time round, and there’s a memorable jaunt to the American South halfway through that stands out.
Nobody expected Titanfall 2 to be as good as it was. The first game was a curate’s egg; its mech-based multiplayer was strong, but it lacked any sort of single-player component which likely warned a few prospective players off it. The second game fixed this problem, providing players with a surprisingly heartfelt and well-designed campaign with strong level design and an engaging central relationship between protagonist Jack Cooper and his robot buddy. The multiplayer is as strong as ever too, making this an all-round enticing package.
When it came time to design their next game after Titanfall 2, Respawn Entertainment decided to take advantage of the burgeoning battle royale trend. The result, Apex Legends, is – appropriately enough – the apex of the genre. Apex Legends melds the character-focused design of Blizzard’s Overwatch with the hundred-to-zero player pruning of Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The result is a hyper-competent shooter with engaging core mechanics and a well-designed map. If you haven’t yet jumped on the battle royale hype train, Apex Legends should be your station.
Three classics in one – what’s not to like? BioShock 2 and Infinite might not be quite as unimpeachable as the first game, but they’re still excellent experiences in their own right that bring new gameplay elements and intriguing narrative developments to the table. The first BioShock needs no introduction; it’s a spiritual sequel to System Shock 2, and while it does simplify some of the elements of that game, it’s still excellent. BioShock 2 is underrated in its own way even as it does retread much of the first game, and Infinite is a worthy spiritual successor.
Have you revisited the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare recently? Despite being over 10 years old (!) the game still holds up and feels relevant. Part of that is due to the powerful single-player narrative which looks at war from all angles and decides that nobody is particularly in the right or wrong. Part of it is the tight gunplay that set the bar for years of Call of Duty to come. Part of it is the iconic multiplayer, with its XP and killstreaks and perks. Modern Warfare is still excellent, so go revisit it if you haven’t already.
Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light were both excellent games in their own right, so the arrival of the Redux collection was exciting. To the former, Redux adds a new gameplay mode to bring it more in line with Last Light. 2033 was a punishing survival horror shooter, but with the new gameplay enhancements it can be played more like a straight FPS with stealth and resource management elements. Last Light, meanwhile, is more of the same excellent setting and tense, claustrophobic gameplay. Metro offers us choice moments of humanity amid a dark, bleak setting, so if that’s your bag then fill your boots.
Blizzard’s entry into the hero shooter genre is, as is customary for Blizzard, head and shoulders above the competition. Character design is top-notch, the game is extremely well-balanced, and the maps are full of exciting nooks and crannies to discover. Overwatch takes the best elements of character-focused MOBAs – idiosyncratic design, a deep and tight core gameplay loop, unobtrusive unlockables – and combines them with a punchy and cathartic team shooter reminiscent of Team Fortress 2 before the hats debacle.
In SUPERHOT, time moves only when you do. That’s a half-truth – time actually moves extremely slowly when you’re stationary – but the slowed-down speed of the planning sections allows you to carefully plot out your next move in this puzzle-box shooter. SUPERHOT is best thought of more as a puzzle game than an FPS, although its shooting is compelling and well-executed. Combine this with a self-aware narrative and plenty of post-game high-score chasing, and you’ve got a classic on your hands.
Wanna shoot bandits and collect gear? Borderlands is your go-to game. Combining a Mad Max setting with gameplay inspired by Blizzard’s Diablo, Borderlands is an FPS RPG for those who like number-crunching with their bullet time. You’ll progress through carefully-crafted dungeons, swapping your guns for better ones with interesting elemental buffs and matching weapons to quests. The Handsome Collection packs in the second game and The Pre-Sequel (which is a prequel, if you hadn’t guessed). No sign of the first one, but its followups are better anyhow.
Finally on this list we have yet another entry from Bethesda. Fallout 4 is an RPG in name only; the fourth instalment strips out many of the factors that made its predecessors role-playing games and focuses more on the shooting, with more exotic weaponry and an expansive customisation system. Fallout 4’s narrative is pretty compelling, although it does fall apart a little at the end, so if you’re looking for a cerebral FPS that tests your brain power and your moral compass as much as your trigger finger, look no further than Fallout 4.
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